The Essex foundation trust at the centre of the latest round of criticism over care failings says it has already begun to tackle the problems uncovered by Care Quality Commission inspectors.

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust has been forced to take special measures to improve its quality of care following a damning report by the Care Quality Commission.

We need radical reform of complaints handling, we need radical reform of supervision and regulation and we need to protect particularly vulnerable groups

It has been told it must work with foundation trust watchdog Monitor to improve standards after CQC inspectors found unusually high death rates, breaches of infection control standards and poor quality of care in accident and emergency and paediatric departments.

The trust will have to appoint an expert task force to oversee improvement, agree new monthly performance measures, and strengthen senior clinical capacity.

However, in a statement it said it had already begun to reduce mortality rates and had taken independent clinical advice, “which has not pointed to a fundamental problem with clinical care”.

The CQC’s list of concerns at Basildon included serious breaches of infection control standards. The trust said it has already agreed an action plan with its cleaning contractor and introduced more stringent monitoring of the cleanliness of clinical equipment.

Trust chief executive Alan Whittle said: “I am confident the actions we, and our cleaning contractor, are taking will return us to compliance by November 30.”

The Patients Association has called for an overhaul of NHS regulation following the events at Basildon.

Patients Association director Katherine Murphy said: “We need radical reform of complaints handling, we need radical reform of supervision and regulation and we need to protect particularly vulnerable groups like the elderly. Most of all we need accountability.”